Tom Caylor writes:

>1) The reductionist definition that something is determined by the
>sum of atomic parts and rules.

So how about this: EITHER something is determined by the sum of atomic parts 
and rules OR it is truly random.

There are two mechanisms which make events seem random in ordinary life. One 
is the difficulty of actually making the required measurements, finding the 
appropriate rules and then doing the calculations. Classical chaos may make 
this practically impossible, but we still understand that the event (such as 
a coin toss) is fundamentally deterministic, and the randomness is only 
apparent.

The other mechanism is quantum randomness, for example in the case of 
radioctive decay. In a single world interpretation of QM this is, as far as 
I am aware, true randomness. In a no-collapse/ many worlds interpretation 
there is no true randomness because all outcomes occur deterministically 
according to the SWE. However, there is apparent randomness due to what 
Bruno calls the first person indeterminacy: the observer does not know which 
world he will end up in from a first person viewpoint, even though he knows 
that from a third person viewpoint he will end up in all of them.

I find the randomness resulting from first person indeterminacy in the MWI 
difficult to get my mind around. In the case of the chaotic coin toss one 
can imagine God being able to do the calculations and predict the outcome, 
but even God would not be able to tell me which world I will find myself in 
when a quantum event induces splitting. And yet, I am stuck thinking of 
quantum events in the MWI as fundamentally non-random.

Stathis Papaioannou

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